First of all, Marek over at West Tennessee is on to something. In both 2004 and 2008, Democrats have voted safe. Instead of voting to win (winning being putting forth a candidate that best reflected our core values and had the soul of a fighter) we voted to not lose. We lost 2004, and unless Obama and Hillary suddenly stop trying to kill each other, we will lose again in 2008.
I’m not saying that because Edwards left the race today, though he did poll better against any Republican for whatever that’s worth, I’m saying that because if we allow our candidates to beat the heck out of each other unchecked, we’re doing the work of the Republicans. It’s time for a come to Jesus. Are Hillary and Obama running for the Democratic nominee or for President? John McCain is running for President, he just happens to be a frontrunner for the Republican nominee. It is a fundamental difference…a difference that could make him the oldest first term President in the history of the US.
Now, I’m going to talk about something that just kills me.
I’ve been a Democrat since I became politically aware sometime back in the mid 80’s. I think I was about 13 at the time. I saw what was happening around me nationally (as the youngest wonk ever) and decided that while the Democratic Party certainly wasn’t perfect, it was closer to my sense of what is right than the Republicans. To put it into perspective, I was a Democrat before I was confirmed into the Methodist Church, which says something about me, draw your own conclusions.
This was just after Bill Clinton was elected Governor of Arkansas, after one term of Frank White. Walter Mondale was the Presidential candidate, and he got his butt handed to him, for reasons that we don’t need to get into just yet.
At this time in Clinton’s political life, he was a progressive. Clinton set in motion a series of events that allowed Mike Huckabee to take credit for Arkansas’ schools performance gains of the 90’s through the present.
Clinton was also very pragmatic. He knew what could and couldn’t be done in Arkansas. He put forth soft challenges, that were attainable. But like most small southern states, there was no real challenging progressive voice in the dialogue. Clinton was the best we had.
In 1992, after his election to President, my infatuation with politics was revitalized. Unfortunately, Clinton got scared. He got scared when the DC press started beating the crap out of him, and that just got worse in ’94 when they lost the Congress.
To this day, I still believe that Clinton was the best Republican President of my lifetime. He was a master of taking his opponents issues away from them, and that drove the Republicans crazy.
Unfortunately it also drove Progressives crazy, and led to a lot of disenchantment in 2000, which hurt Gore. People tell me I should stop blaming Nader supporters for Gore’s loss in 2000. Maybe so, I don’t guess it really matters all that much now, but the stage is set, and unless something drastic happens, we’re looking at 2000 all over again.
Nader is getting in. I attribute this to the abject lack of any real progressive voice in the Democratic race. Maybe it would have happened had Edwards stayed in, maybe not, but the reality is that, unlike a Bloomberg candidacy, Nader hurts both Obama and Hillary because some progressives will vote for him for some ridiculous reason.
1. I never voted for Nader, and never would because…
2. I’m a Yellow Dog Democrat.
And I guess that makes me part of the problem.
Ya see, come November I will vote for Hillary or Obama, no matter what. And while that makes me a loyal Democrat, that also makes me easy to be taken for granted. It puts me, and my core values, in a position of weakness, a position that can be disregarded, a position without any leverage. Leverage is exactly what progressives need.
It is because I will vote for a Democrat, no matter what that the Democratic candidate will give me and my values the big “screw you” and run even further to the right hoping to score a landslide. Because of this, the values that should be at the core of any Democratic candidate will fall further away, blurring the distinctions, and diluting the impact that any Democratic administration could possibly have.
It makes me sick.
Look, I know I’m waaaayyyy off the reservation on this, but we need to consider our choices, and I’m a big part of the we. If we’re left with a corporatist and the “Un-Partisan” then we’re left with a party that has left us.
It’s enough to make me reconsider that Yellow Dog status.
It’s enough to, at best, keep me at home…at worst, well, I think I’ve said enough.